Valentines Day Photography
How To Capture Intimate and Loving Couples Portraits
Valentine’s Day photography
With the most romantic day of the year upon us, Valentine’s Day is always a rush to find the perfect gift to say ‘I love you’ to your husband, wife or partner.
But how about trying out something new on 14th February, and use your photographic skills to capture a romantic portrait of your beautiful partner, or even, the two of your together! There really is no gift as special or personal as Valentine’s Day photography.
Once you have those timeless, romantic photos in the palm of your hand – you’ll never be caught short of a gift to hand over for Valentines (which could get you out of some serious trouble in the future should you forget to buy a card, chocolates or flowers).
Pictures of Love
In order to shoot romantic Valentine’s Day photography or emotionally evoking images, you will need to have prepared beforehand, have lots of ideas ready and ensure any props you require are close to hand.
Remember, romance can take on many forms and every couple has their own unique idea of what love is, or how it is represented.
Therefore, you may need to experiment with a few different styles, until you find one that is best suited and best portrays the couple in front of you.To help you get in the mood for love, iPhotography has put together a few tasteful tips to make sure Cupid’s arrow hits the right spot.
Two’s Company, Threes a Crowd
Valentine’s Day photography is a very creative medium, whether you are taking pictures of yourself and your own partner, or you’re hired to take pictures of another couple.
Photographing two people is far more intimate than photographing ten people. For starters, you have more time to discuss options, positions and styles; it also means you can focus more attention on the romantic story and relationship between the couple.
Maybe they’ve not been together long, are newly engaged, or even 40-year veterans – either way, every couple has their own story to tell. It’s down to you as the photographer to pick up on that story and present it in a complementary light.
Set your Scene
Romantic walks on the beach are so simple and yet also very effective. Holding one another’s hands and slowly walking along the line of the tide in your bare feet at sunset makes for a heart-warming portrait.
Before you set up your equipment, have a quick search of the area.
Aim for a quiet, remote or isolated spot.
This will make the shots more intimate and will help avoid you accidentally snapping gawping passers-by in the background.
Make sure, you if you aren’t behind the camera.
(i.e. if you are in the photograph) to set your camera on a tripod at a decent distance away from your starting position.
Use a face-tracking or sports mode and focus on your partner in the distance.
Love Note – This is great for older couples that thrive outdoors, enjoy taking strolls to reminisce, or that simply relish each other’s company.
No Strings Attached
Having a photograph taken with your partner is a rare occasion for many photographers.
We all know how awkward it can be asking a random passer-by, or even a waiter, to take a picture of you both together.
At worst you may be presented with a wonky, headless shot – and at best chances are the shot will be out of focus or look awkward, and well… very stiff.
Without a remote shutter release this next part is impossible.
So have a look online for a compatible remote control or smartphone app which lets you take a photograph without having to be behind your camera.
Love Note – Find out what the maximum range your remote will work from.
Now you’ve got the set-up when the moments right, and you’re feeling comfortable press the remote and begin to capture (and soak up) the memories as you walk along the sand.
Nobody is saying you both have to channel your inner Kate Moss and get your model strut on, just keep it relaxed and natural.
If you are both stiff and camera conscious, this will show through in the end shot;
Instead, release some energy and enjoy some horseplay.
Love Note – something as simple as telling a joke can help encourage natural smiles and laugh out loud shots. If all else fails, make like Mr. Tickle.
Half a World Away
You don’t have to be down at the beach – you could also try this out in a park, or on a romantic stroll through the woods. Go to places that bring back memories of your relationship, this will give the photographs more meaning and make them even more special.
Use the same technique even if you’re sat down on a bench or nestled up on a sand dune. Remote shutters work on radio signals, so they don’t always need to be in view of the camera; therefore, you easily hide it behind your back or in your pocket, so that it’s not on show in your finished shot.
Love Note – If you fancy getting really creative or want to add a little quirkiness, iPhotography’s Cupid suggests using a wide-angle lens. Hold the camera at arm’s length and take a silly selfie! This is a great way to introduce some alternative fun shots and capture genuine and natural reactions.
If you and your partner are particularly affectionate and open with one another (i.e. touching, kissing, holding hands), then reflect this closeness in the shot; instead of taking the shot from a distance, get in close.
Love Note – To increase the intimacy of your shots, crop in close.
Before you start taking any photographs, have an idea and vision in mind of how you want the end result to look. Getting the set up right, to begin with, is important if you want to create a specific mood.
Remove yourselves away from any distracting backgrounds, you don’t want to capture a beautiful moment, full of loving expression and then discover there’s a bin in the corner of your shot – takes the word ‘Trashy’ to a whole new level!
Wide apertures around f/4 help blur out other features and keeps the face sharp, but you’ll have to try and keep somewhat still if you’re in the shot, as a lot of movement may result in unsightly blur. Aim to capture a longing gaze, rather than full on kissing.
On saying that, blurred shots that capture the movement of raw passion, can be extremely intense, especially in black and white – so don’t discard these shots altogether. You’re capturing different moments in time.
It’s Valentine’s day, so you don’t need any excuse to get in close with your partner – let’s continue with our remote shutter button…
Keep it hidden in your hand and stand behind your partner, wrapping your arms around their shoulders or around their waists with your head on their shoulders or back. It’s a loving embrace that clearly demonstrates your physical connection as well as your emotional one.
Alternatively, spin your significant other around and surprise them in the moment by giving them a big kiss right on the lips! If you do this spontaneously you’ll capture the most genuine reaction – especially if you don’t normally behave like that!
My Sweet Valentine
Perhaps you want to capture intimate portraits images of your loved one for your Valentine’s Day photography?
When it comes to taking romantic or intimate pictures of our own partners, it can sometimes feel rather awkward and embarrassing to instruct or direct them.
If this is how you feel, break the ice by joining them in the picture to begin and take some of you both together to ease the flow.
It’s All in the Details
Don’t forget the details – colour your memories by taking detailed shots of your favourite things about your partner.
- Is it that sexy, sultry smile?
- Maybe it’s those smooth hands or elongated fingers?
- Perhaps those shapely legs?
- Or did you fall head over heels for those ocean blue eyes?
Whichever feature is your guilty pleasure or makes you go weak at the knees, be sure to capture the detail – get up close and use your macro setting or lens.
Love Note – Red lipstick looks great with a colour splash effect.
Love Note – Open your aperture as wide as you can to decrease the DOF, this will add an alluring element to those dreamy special features.
If your partner is comfortable in their skin, happy to experiment and doesn’t mind taking things to the bedroom, then set up your camera on a tripod poised over your bed (or the sofa). Consider capturing the action of a little play fight or a naughty nibble.
If you’re not feeling quite that relaxed, then start with a cuddle or a tickle that never hurt or offended anybody!
Since you’re not changing the distance from the camera, if you focus on your partner first, your shot shouldn’t go blurry. Continue using that remote shutter button in order to capture lots of fun, exciting and intimate shots.
Love Note – Take a number of shots in the same scene; this creates a passionate sequence, which will look great as a framed print on your bedroom wall.
For a more natural, romantic shot, avoid using any flash; it’ll make your portraits look contrived and artificial. Instead, move the bed or sofa closer to the window to you are utilising all of the natural light that is available to you.
Neighbourhood Watch Alert – Consider your set up carefully before choosing to bare all by your window – particularly if overlooking another row of houses. This could take the words ‘Camera Flash’ to a whole new level.
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
If you’re getting a little hot under the collar right now, then you may want to sit out of this next bit as we turn the romance and heat dial up to 10, as we consider how to make those portraits look even sexier and provocative.
This is NSFW and not suitable for under 18’s; it’s educational, but may be considered adult content to some. Therefore, if you work in a stuffy, old-fashioned office, have a particularly suspicious or jealous partner, or are currently caring for young children, the material may be considered xxx or X-rated – therefore, in order to save blushes, you may wish not to continue reading this article.
Boudoir photography is not purely based on females, it can just as easily feature men, although this isn’t as widely and openly seen on display, maybe the men just feel slightly shyer? With that said though, we don’t want to leave those boyfriends and husbands out in the cold, so we are going to examine how to photograph partners, of either sex, in a more seductive fashion.
All Laid Bare
Before we go any further on this subject, we should point out to any newbies that Boudoir photography does NOT necessarily mean X-rated images (we were just joking earlier). Any of you that have already reached module 3 or module 12 within our online photography course will know that we are very specific in how this type of photography be represented and displayed.
At iPhotography, we use Boudoir as a celebration of the human form and only promote classic, clean and non-offensive nude photography. Emphasis should always remain on form, shape and beauty.
Boudoir Photography tends to be a solo pursuit, it doesn’t mean you can’t take shots of a couple together.
But as a Valentine’s Day photography present it can be nice to present your loved one with something very personal and individual. Show your partner all the things you love about them, give them a huge confidence boost and make them feel amazing, all at the same time.
You need your partner to be confident and willing; make sure you give them constant praise and reassurance throughout the shoot. It will help their self-esteem – it’s not every day they strip down to their lingerie or underwear in front of a camera.
Show them examples of pictures you think they’ll look great re-creating. Get them involved by going shopping together for new underwear/outfits or makeup, this will help them get excited and ease the nerves. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be all ’50 Shades, Christian Grey’ inspired.
Love Note – Telling them ‘that looks amazing!’ or ‘WOW, you are going to love these!’ are all great reassurances and confidence boosters to a first-time model during a shoot.
Make sure your setting is clean and clear, hide any distracting objects and beautify the room. Change the bedding, crystal clean white sheets help light reflect, but don’t divert attention. A portable heated fan is also advisable, you want your partner or model to feel relaxed – not guarded and shivering.
Keep geometric shapes in mind when posing your partner.
Shape legs and arms at angles to make interesting poses, that lead your eye through the shot.
Think about what gestures and subtleties make for provocative suggestions:
- Biting the lip can look very suggestive.
- Hands pulling on underwear connotes the hint of something more.
- A look over the shoulder, concealing bare skin, adds an element of intrigue.
- Using hands or props to conceal private areas tease our eyes.
- Head lowered, with eyes looking up, is sultry and suggestive.
All You Need is Love
It’s up to you and your partner how sexy you want your portraits to be, just remember to make every shot flattering by using natural soft lighting and wide apertures. High angles work better to avoid double chins and thin bedding sheets are a great prop to conceal body parts, particularly if your partner is body conscious.
Feel free to throw in a few other props to introduce a little humour, for example, iced buns, large fruits, flowers… anything relevant to your partner, that offers to cover their modesty. Remember to have fun creating these shots, after all, only you and your sidekick are going to ever see them (we hope!).
Love Note – If your partner is feeling particularly daring or risqué, consider using handcuffs, whips or masks as props – this is a much more adult way of creating a richer story.
For this moment, forget about the world outside and pretend only the two of you exist. It’s important to show your love and capture it; what is photography but the pursuit of emotional memories, and what evokes more emotions than love?
So, make your Valentine’s Day (or in fact any day of the year) an opportunity to express your romantic side, along with your creative skills – much better than a box of chocolates… although, if we are honest, that is a close second!
We hoped you enjoyed reading our Valentine’s Day Photography tips and the best ways to capture your romantic side this 14th February!
The iPhotography Team and Cupid
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